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Sanford receives largest individual gift in school history

Wm. Shawn Weigel * Delaware
shawn.weigel@doverpost.com
The Community News

A record-breaking donation from a board trustee has helped kickstart a new project at Hockessin’s Sanford School.

Sanford School Trustee Emeritus Sharon Struthers, her husband Ric, and their children—Ryan, Brice, and Corrie—have given Sanford School $1 million to support the renovation of the school’s Sports Center, according to a press release from Sanford. 

The donation represents the largest individual gift in the school’s 90-year history, the press release stated.

The Struthers’ donation was accompanied by a challenge for Sanford to raise an additional $1 million.

In January, the school reached the $1 million challenge goal and began developing plans for the creation of the Struthers Family Sports Center.

Work on the facility, which will begin in March 2020, is scheduled to be completed by November 2020.

Part of master plan

The Struthers Family Sports Center is the next major project designated to be completed as part of the school’s master plan, which was developed in conjunction with Sanford’s 2018 strategic plan.

Earlier athletic facility improvements included the installation of two new Bermuda grass fields, resurfaced tennis courts, and baseball field upgrades. The transformation of the 30-year-old Sports Center into a premier athletic venue aligns with Sanford’s goal to enhance the student experience for current and future generations.

Sharon and Ric Struthers shared said their family is proud to support the renovation of the Sanford Sports Center.

“Sanford provided a terrific academic learning environment for our children. From grade school to high school they enjoyed many of the activities offered through the Sports Center,” they said. “Those experiences were a significant part of their development into well-rounded individuals. We are delighted to participate in the continued success of Sanford as one of the premier schools in Delaware.”

The Struthers Family Sports Center will provide:

• Best-in-class athletic equipment and amenities

• State-of-the-art health, training, and wellness facilities

• A comfortable, climate-controlled environment

• A welcoming, well-designed exterior and entryway

• 21st-century teaching and learning spaces.

Head of School Mark Anderson said that the magnitude of the Struthers’ gift, tremendous donor support, and new facility go well beyond bricks and mortar.

“This project is an investment in Sanford’s current and future success,” Anderson said. “In addition to providing a facility commensurate with the exceptional talent of our athletes and coaches, the Struthers Family Sports Center will allow our preschool through 12th-grade school students to learn, play, and grow in 21st-century educational spaces. The new sports center will also provide welcoming, comfortable, and spirited experiences for our families, fans, and visitors.”

Anderson added that although the building will be unavailable for use during construction, Sanford’s school leaders have developed a plan for minimizing disruption of programs during the renovation period.

Sanford Board of Trustees President Ted Dwyer, who chaired the school’s Strategic Planning Committee, views this project as a key milestone in Sanford’s continual pursuit of excellence. He emphasized that the Struthers Family Sports Center supports the strategic plan’s fundraising and campus improvement goals.

“During the past 90 years, Sanford has seen tremendous growth and improvement,” Dwyer said. "However, our success is never final. This new facility is another important initiative in the school’s efforts to become bolder, brighter, and stronger."

More donations needed

Although the Board of Trustees has approved moving forward with construction and the challenge goal has been met, additional funds are necessary for completion of the project. Several gifting options, including acquiring naming rights for areas and equipment within the facility, are still available.

Anderson and Dwyer said they are thankful to the Struthers family, the project’s lead donors who include Stacey, Krista, and Nolan Bacchieri, Pam and Tom Allingham, and Diane and David Kedash, and all of the donors making the project possible.

Anyone interested in making a donation should contact Sanford’s Associate Head of School for Advancement, Jaime Morgan, at morganj@sanfordschool.org, or 302-235-6504.